Nor'easter's Latest Casualty: Shellfish

There's too much raw sewage in NY Harbor

By Brian Thompson
|  Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010  |  Updated 6:00 PM EDT
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Nor'easter's Latest Casualty: Shellfish

Forrest Gump would be upset.

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Put away those clamming rakes for now because shellfish beds in New York Harbor are  being closed.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection closed nearly 28,000 acres of shellfish beds in its part of the harbor Wednesday afternoon.

"Bacteria levels exceed national criteria for safe harvesting," said the DEP in a statement.

The affected ares include all of the Shrewsbury and Navisink Rivers in Monmouth County, as well as all of Sandy Hook Bay and much of Raritan Bay extending to the New York State waters just south of Staten Island.

"An extreme amount of storm water can overwhelm treatment plants," said Raritan Riverkeeper Bill Schultz, explaining how that results in raw sewage being dumped into the harbor.

"And a lot of debris from our streets decays in storm drains," he added, saying that heavy rains will flush that into the harbor as well.

The DEP says this is a temporary shellfishing ban, and Schultz expects it to be lifted by this weekend.

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